Column: Memo To Vermont Victim: Pro-Arab Activists Created Much of Hostile Climate
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Column: Memo To Vermont Victim: Pro-Arab Activists Created Much of Hostile Climate

Fresh from his frightening visit to Vermont, Kinnon Abdalhamid demands that Haverford College support a cease-fire and even compares Gaza to Vietnam. “I’m advocating for the school to back a cease-fire,” he said in an interview with a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter.

Last Friday, the day after Abdalhamid’s story was published, the United Nations approved a resolution permitting more aid to reach vulnerable civilians in Gaza. As part of the resolution, the council called for release of Israeli hostages and indirectly touched on a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

Nobody can blame the Palestinians for antagonism over Israel’s bombing of Gaza, if that is their concern. For a society that celebrates martyrs, I cannot understand why Palestinian lives matter to them. Or any lives.

The bombing benefits Hamas and other terror groups. With every Palestinian death, world sympathy toward Gaza increases and Israel returns more and more to its status as the bad guy.

Activists on the street as well as members of the United Nations insist on a cease-fire, but they do not say how it should work or how it will help anyone besides Hamas. Does the cease-fire mean that Hamas can hold 120-plus Israelis hostage while Israel suspends military action?

During the weekend, Hamas declared that it will not release any hostages without a permanent cease-fire. This affirms the savagery of Hamas, but it does not automatically give Israel leave to persist in bombing Gaza unless its military believes it is necessary. So much for the cease-fire that Abdalhamid, a pre-med student at Haverford College near Philadelphia, demands that his college’s president support.

Abdalhamid and two friends experienced the kind of trauma that is unusual in a small city like Burlington, Vt., when all three were shot without apparent provocation. When it comes to gun-safety laws, there is no cease-fire between most Republicans and sane office-holders, thus allowing psychotics easy access to firearms.

Jason J. Eaton, 48, pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted murder, according to the Inquirer. The three men, all 20, were staying at the home of one of their relatives when they were shot; one of them is paralyzed from the chest down.

The three victims, each 20 years of age, all grew up in Ramallah on the West Bank. While walking in Burlington, they wore keffiyehs and spoke a mix of English and Arabic when Eaton allegedly fired without warning.

Americans were shocked and outraged. Our nation was founded to settle our differences peacefully, and that applies to all Americans and those who are here temporarily. We cannot expect Abdalhamid to endorse Israel’s military response, and at best the response confuses many Americans. We can expect Abdalhamid to take an informed, balanced approach to the conflict.

Back at Haverford, he told the Inquirer, “I can see why it’s tough, given the political climate today, but…cease-fire is the morally correct thing to say.” A cease-fire is a sham. While Israel is committing acts of war, so is Hamas by keeping hostages. They also violated an existing cease-fire when they raided Israel on Oct. 7.

Abdalhamid also told the newspaper that he believes disrespect for the lives of Gazans contributes to Islamophobia and anti-Arab sentiment here.

There is a measure of truth in what he claims, but he disregards the blockades of the Brooklyn Bridge and a congested highway in Los Angeles; harassment of Jewish students at the University of Pennsylvania; vandalism at and bomb threats to various synagogues; calls to destroy a close ally of America; disruption of diners at a downtown Philadelphia restaurant; the occupation, literally, of the president’s office at his own college; and a rush to cancel Christmas at Rockefeller Center.

TV images of these incidents must scare and antagonize ordinary people. Pro-Palestinian activists gripe about actions which are false or exaggerated, they commit a range of mostly low-level criminal offenses when they protest and they single out Israel. They expect to be taken seriously?

They do not bother to pressure Hamas to release the remaining Israeli hostages and end its mission to destroy Israel. They did more than anyone to create such a hostile and dangerous environment. Did pro-Arab advocates expect the hostility that they mostly created to spare their own?

Abdalhamid noted in the article that he does not support Hamas or their Oct. 7 attack, but he is pressing Haverford’s president, Wendy E. Raymond, to back a cease-fire and linked Gaza to Vietnam. He recounts that a previous Haverford president opposed the Vietnam war independent of the college taking a position as an institution.

Vietnam? A high school friend of mine, who was also 20, died after stepping on a mine in Vietnam, which is located 8,000 miles from our West Coast. Americans ultimately protested the war when our troops’ casualty rate kept rising for no discernible reason. Israel’s tactics may be questionable, but 1,200 Israelis were burned, raped and butchered in the Oct. 7 border raid that touched off the current horror show. I am personally offended when anyone would liken Gaza to Vietnam.

The U.N. resolution specifically “demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, as well as ensuring humanitarian access to address medical needs of all hostages.”

The measure is nonbinding and the product of lengthy negotiations to preclude America’s veto. All council members approved it except for Russia and America, as both abstained. The resolution avoids the term “cease-fire,” but another clause “calls for all parties to adhere to international humanitarian law and in this regard deplores all attacks against civilians and civilian objects, as well as all violence and hostilities against civilians, and acts of terrorism.”

Even with the security council’s vote, the attitudes of some parties to the resolution remain one-sided. Said Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, UN ambassador for United Arab Emirates: “We know only a cease-fire will end the suffering.” Whose suffering?

“That such a brutal conflict has been allowed to continue and for this long…is an indelible stain on our collective conscience,” said Martin Griffiths, U.N. humanitarian affairs chief. Would a single day, like Oct. 7, be long enough for him?

While Russia will not relent in its destruction of Ukraine, Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzya said the resolution was diluted to the point that it gave “Israel the green light for war crimes.”

About Bruce Ticker

Bruce S. Ticker, who writes from Philadelphia, also blogs for The San Diego Jewish World and Smirking Chimp and previously for the suspended Philadelphia Jewish Voice. He was previously a reporter and copy editor for daily newspapers in eastern Pennsylvania.

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One comment

  1. The idea of any ceasefire call by the United Nations Security Council is abhorrent – as Israel is seeking to kill or capture those Gazans responsible for the defilement of the bodies of women raped on October 7 – not to mention more than a thousand other civilians brutally murdered or taken as hostage. What could possibly possess the Security Council to call for a ceasefire that would see these monsters let free to blend into Gaza's population and plot for repeats of the foul atrocities carried out by them on October 7? The UN should hang its head in shame.